Heavy metals were found in some baby food. Here’s what you need to know



a close up of a person holding a bottle: One-year-old Rachel Ho is fed Gerber baby food in Palo Alto, Calif., on Thursday, April 12, 2007. The House Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy has called on the Food and Drug Administration to act as brands like Gerber, Beech-Nut, Walmart Inc.’s store brand and some other organic baby food brands had “dangerously high levels” of arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury in their foods.


© Paul Sakuma, Associated Press
One-year-old Rachel Ho is fed Gerber baby food in Palo Alto, Calif., on Thursday, April 12, 2007. The House Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy has called on the Food and Drug Administration to act as brands like Gerber, Beech-Nut, Walmart Inc.’s store brand and some other organic baby food brands had “dangerously high levels” of arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury in their foods.

The House Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy has issued a new report on Thursday that identified high levels of toxic metals in top baby food brands, The Wall Street Journal reports.

  • The committee has called on the Food and Drug Administration to set strict standards on food developers in order to avoid such an issue again.

What’s going on?

According to the report, brands like Gerber, Beech-Nut, Walmart Inc.’s store brand and some other organic baby food brands had “dangerously high levels” of arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury in their foods.

Other consumer advocacy groups have found similar issues recently, too, per The Wall Street Journal.

  • “These heavy metals naturally occur in soil and water. Baby food makers say that their products contain these metals at levels that are safe and that they are already working at reducing their presence by looking for new suppliers and cultivation methods,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

Why it matters

Experts told The New York Times that the report shows how lax the federal government has been about monitoring baby food.

And experts said that exposure to these heavy metals “has been linked to behavioral impairments, brain damage and even death,” per The New York Times.

  • “This is an endemic problem that’s been swept under the rug and never addressed,” Tracey Woodruff, director of the program on reproductive health and the environment at the University of California, San Francisco, told The New York Times.
  • She added, “It speaks to the many areas that we need government to be active in. Consumers can’t figure it out on their own.”
Continue Reading